The Q&A

'The Hills': How Much Is Set Up?

Lauren Conrad says she has reenacted some conversations for MTV's cameras

LAUREN CONRAD ''I basically had to go and call [Brody] again, have the exact same conversation on camera. I mean, it's not lying to anyone,…
Image credit: Jeff Lipsky
LAUREN CONRAD ''I basically had to go and call [Brody] again, have the exact same conversation on camera. I mean, it's not lying to anyone, it's telling what really happened, but it's just the way they film reality shows''

Since the debut of high school reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County in 2004, most of Lauren Conrad's life has been documented by MTV. But this year, on Laguna spin-off The Hills (its third-season finale airs tonight at 10 p.m.), the 21-year-old and her gal pals became more famous than ever, keeping audiences captivated both on-screen and off: The show averages about 4 million viewers a week, and for proof of their off-screen popularity...well, just scan any celebrity weekly or gossip blog site.

So what makes Conrad's life oh-so-fascinating? We checked in with the California girl to ask her ourselves. Plus, she admits which silly rumor she'd like to put to rest once and for all, and what really went down the night of the infamous ''nail polish-gate.''

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Looking back now on your life since Laguna, did you ever think you would get the opportunities that you've had?
LAUREN CONRAD: None of us knew what we were getting into when we signed up for Laguna, so everything that's followed has been so crazy and unexpected. We were thrown into the spotlight very quickly [this year]. It was a lot more intense than before. We've had to deal with paparazzi following us, and when we go on dates, it's reported the next day. It's very weird.

Did you have to adjust your life at all because of the constant attention? Like now maybe when you go out, you're not just going to wear sweatpants because someone might take your picture. Is there stuff like that you're more conscious of?
I think it helps that [my friends and I] are all going through it together, so we can all relate. But yeah, you do have to take a second look in the mirror and do all those things. But with doing a reality show, it's become a habit to do that anyway because you roll out of bed in the morning, and you're making breakfast and there are cameras in your kitchen.

Is it true you had to move apartments because so many people were coming by?
Yeah. We filmed at an apartment building right next to it, but we filmed the exterior of another building because people found out where we lived and what apartment we had, and so in the middle of the night — whether they were drunk or just crazy — people would come and knock on our door. It was scary for us. So we switched apartments but continued filming in front of the other one so people wouldn't know where we lived.

Does it ever annoy you how meticulous people have gotten when watching The Hills? Take, for example, what everyone is referring to as ''nail polish-gate'' — one scene showed you wearing red nail polish, but then in a scene that was presented as happening a little later that same night, the polish was gone. What happened there?
The Hills is filmed exactly the same as Laguna. So when people started picking out these very little things, it was weird to me because anyone who has worked on a reality show knows how they're filmed. We're not filming The Truman Show, we don't have cameras set up all around our apartment, and they're not with us 24/7. Basically what they're doing is taking our lives and telling a story. For example, the night [of the nail-polish incident, while on a date with model Gavin], the cameras stopped rolling, and I went out to a club with [Gavin]. I went home and called someone [Brody], and the next day talked about it. [MTV] was like, Okay, well, we need to get that on tape, and since they're trying to tell a story the right way, I basically had to go and call [Brody] again, have the exact same conversation on camera. I mean, it's not lying to anyone, it's telling what really happened, but it's just the way they film reality shows.

NEXT PAGE: ''People can sit back and say it's real, it's fake, but at the end of the day to me this is real because this is my life.''

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